Brick by Brick: The Story of David Smith

Stages Magazine
July/August 2010

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  That’s exactly what home builder David Smith did in the early 90’s when he and 350 other IBM employees were faced with a massive statewide layoff.  Building on his knowledge as a construction project manager for IBM, David decided to take his expertise and launch his own business.  Eighteen years later, David Smith Builder, LLC, has become one of the top builders of custom homes in the Jackson-metro area.“I have always thought of myself as a high-quality builder,” relates David.  “I am a very trustworthy individual that can deliver on a project from start to finish.”

Smith’s favorite part of the job is the way it allows him to use his creativity.  “Each job is a challenge, but also very rewarding,” he says.  “I like meeting new people and everyone on my team works close together to makes our clients happy during and after the project.”  Recently, he has noticed clients leaning towards building a more family friendly layout with special details being paid to expanding the kitchen area, adding a keeping room, and including additional outdoor amenities.

Obviously, building homes has become a passion for Smith.  Since the market is constantly changing, he continues to stay abreast of current trends by staying active in the industry.  He has served as President of the Home Builders Association of Jackson, Region Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi, and Director of the National Association of Home Builders.  He also currently serves on the Mississippi Board of Contractors.

More recently, Smith became the first home builder in Mississippi to become a Certified Green Professional under the National Association of Homebuilders Green Building Program.  He was also appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour to serve as Chairman of the State Board of Contractors Building Green Works Program for the Home Builder Association.  Explains Smith, “I became interested in building ‘green’ because essentially you are building a better house.  It doesn’t take more effort, but it does require more attention to detail.”  Smith has noticed an interest in appliances that run more efficiently and help to save the client money in the long run, such as tankless water heaters, high efficiency HVAC units, and better lighting.    “People are becoming more attuned to building ‘green’ houses because information about the concept is everywhere – the president is talking about it, more and more companies are adopting green policies.  Building a ‘green’ house may cost more initially – it really depends on the size of the house.  However, the cost savings you see in the long run will pay for itself.”  If you decide to go green, Smith recommends using energy efficient appliances, insulation, windows and heating systems designed to work together to lower utility bills; installing measures that will help conserve water and improve indoor air quality; and using recycled materials and effective waste management during construction.  Smith is also trained in how to prepare and develop a lot to ensure it leaves a light footprint on the earth and educating his clients so that they know how to operate and maintain their new, more eco-friendly  home.

Smith’s work has not gone unnoticed.  Over the years, he has been the recipient of numerous accolades within the industry.  He was named the 2008 Spring Parade of Homes Winner and again in 2009 for his “Miracle Home” built for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.  He has also been named Builder Member of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Mississippi and Jackson.

Adds Smith, “I love making people’s dreams come true.  You start with nothing and end up with a jewel.  It’s a lot of fun.  If it’s not fun, it’s not worth pursuing.”